Pulling a page from the hockey playoffs playbook — Injury? What injury? — the Chicago Bulls did do an MRI on Derrick Rose’s left ankle (they denied they would) after he aggravated it Monday night on the final play of the Bulls loss to the Hawks.
And the news isn’t good according to David Kaplan of CSN Chicago.
Sources told me that Rose suffered a Grade 2 sprain of one of the main ligaments on the outside of his ankle and it could affect his mobility for Game 2 on Wednesday evening. He will be treated with several different methods and is expected to start when the Bulls try to even the series.
A Grade 2 sprain means a partial tearing of the ligament, which usually means a lot of swelling, there is a decreased range of motion and more instability in the ankle.
Rose did participate in the Bulls practice Tuesday and reported no swelling.
Rose is going to play, make no mistake.
But as we pointed out before, this injury is impacting Rose’s play.
Rose shot 49 free throws in the three playoff games before he first sprained his ankle in Game 4 against the Pacers. In the last three games it is 11 total, trips to the line, including zero in the Bulls Game 1 loss to the Hawks.
Rose is not as explosive and not driving into players to draw contact like he did before. This sprain will mean worse lateral movement as well.
Rose is going to be named the league MVP Tuesday because he carried the Bulls offense through the regular season. If he can’t carry it in the playoffs, the Bulls have some serious problems.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.